Movement 2017, Oxford University: The International Conference on Movement and Cognition Lawrence Gold

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Lawrence Gold’s workshop on The Pandicular Response plus excerpts from two presentations and the Gala (party).

Clinical Somatic Education | a New Discipline in the Field of Health Care
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On Autism: A Suggestion Involving Movement, Cognition, and Imagination

At the International Conference on Movement and Cognition, "Movement 2017", at the presentation on autism by Dr. Crispiani, I suggested that autism might involve a "deficiency of imagination".

To clarify, I'd like to describe imagination in certain, more digestible terms.

Imagination: openness to being strangely drawn in some direction

The, "strangely" part is essential; if the experience is not strange and new, but common and familiar, it's not imagination, but memory we are describing. Memory is a kind of fixity; imagination is a kind of "changeability". Everything an infant encounters is strange to the infant and that stage of life involves massive learning, awakening of faculties and self-sense, and increasing interaction. Healthy infants and children are very imaginative and imagination is a large part of play.

Imagination is the basis of memory. We form memories by repeatedly imagining what we want to remember until a memory consolidates. Any new adaptation involves new memory. Difficulties of learning involve difficulty imagining.

This definition shows that imagination and eros are closely related. Eros is attraction that leads to a kind of fixity of attention; consider romance. Substitute, "eros", for imagination in the description, above. Do that, now.

~~~~~~~~~

You may also see that this description is perhaps precisely the opposite of the description of autism, which involves repetition, repetition, repetition and non-involvement in the world of relationships.

A practical experiment for correcting autism, then, might be to develop what is deficient: imagination, or eros, as described, above.

I suggest that two additional factors may be taken into account, with this experiment:
  • opposition to eros, or imagination, putting on "the brakes" by the autistic individual
  • opposition to eros, or imagination, in the family, perhaps in the mood of subliminal fear
Without taking these two "locations of possible opposition" into account, efforts to cultivate imagination, or eros, may be impeded or defeated.

Taking these two factors into account, in the intention to cultivate imagination, makes use of two phenomena:
  • somatic contagion
  • feedback

Somatic contagion is something everyone has observed and experienced. It's the communication of the state and behavior of one individual to another, as happens with yawning, laughter, and sexual arousal. See someone in any of those states and doing any of those behaviors, we feel them in ourselves. See someone yawn, you yawn. Hear someone laughing, you are moved to good humor or even laughter. Babies demonstrate somatic contagion when, hearing another baby crying, they start to cry. Somatic contagion is also the mechanism of compassion. Neurophysiologists might say that mirror neurons are involved.

Feedback is the reinforcement of a state between two participants similarly disposed. We see feedback in mutual agreement between individuals and in laughter and sexual arousal being contagious and mutually reinforcing, between individuals.

Because of somatic contagion and feedback, we might do well to consider the influence of the family unit on the autistic individual and also the influence of therapists. Seriousness during interaction with an autistic individual might reinforce the problem by "frightening off" imagination/eros. Imagination, good humor, and compassion or empathy (genuine, not pretended), might, through somatic contagion, lead to release from autism. At the very least, they point the right direction and create the right environment.

For autism, laughter might indeed be some of "the best medicine", easier to experience than efforts to cultivate imagination. Story-telling, music, and positive aesthetic experiences, which entice attention by stimulating imagination, might also assist in freeing an individual from autism. The starting point, I think, might be to first develop them in the family, rather than to attempt to develop them in the autistic individual by targeting him or her. Then, imagination and eros might become aroused and fostered in an autistic person through somatic contagion and be cultivated through interaction and feedback with family members.

Further help for the process might be to develop proprioception, more. Proprioception is the primitive foundation of the sense of self and of interaction of self and environment, self-in relationship with others. Head swinging and head banging behaviors observed in autistic persons might be primitive efforts to awaken the kinesthetic sense and proprioception. More sophisticated methods than banging ones head are available, involving the sensations of movement and position, including passively experienced movements and the sensations of being held. What's needed is the integration of sensation|attention and movement|intention in a conscious and deliberate way such integration being one benefit of somatic education. There's room for ingenuity, here. 

"Mind-body" is not a term that defines a "two-ness", but which refers to a one-ness viewed and described from two perspectives: the perspective and vocabulary of mind/psychology and the perspective and vocabulary of body/physiology -- two perspectives of the same thing. The term that integrates both perspectives is, "soma". I suggest that in an effective treatment of autism, two approaches -- cultivating imagination and cultivating proprioception -- might be more effective than any single approach.

Those are my "two cents" on the condition.





The Three Biggest Mistakes Made by People Trying to Get Out of Pain Lawrence Gold

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Standard therapies for chronic pain are BUILT UPON three therapeutic errors. It’s not that therapeutic approaches are being applied badly; it’s that the approaches commonly taken in therapy are themselves wrong in principle.

How do we know? Just look at the results of therapy — how ineffective it is and how long it takes.

This is a “bad news/good news” situation. The bad news is that standard (and most alternative) therapies don’t work very well; the good news is the alternative.

This video presents that alternative and leads to actionable options that get the results that therapy hopes for and promises, but (as you may have experienced) takes so long to deliver, if ever.

This video applies to back trouble, whiplash injuries, frozen shoulder, knee pain, groin pain and … you get the idea. See a more comprehensive list of conditions at http://somatics.com/conditions.htm.

Clinical Somatic Education | a New Discipline in the Field of Health Care
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What is 'Self-Identification"? | Somatology

After reflection upon the nature of self-existence during a time of particularly intense affliction -- during and after a period of illness in which I felt particularly vulnerable to suffering, it has at last become clear to me what is the nature of "self-identification".

To the point:  self-identification (self-contraction) is the feeling of an automatic action of tensing that happens so automatically and so involuntarily as to compel one to accept, "this is myself." It the sense and assumption that one is "a self" compelled by the inability to "be anything different".

In that state, efforts to get relief from that uncomfortable state of self-contraction merely use and reinforce that very self-contraction. It seems inescapable and it is this seeming inescapability that seems to make acquiescense to this state of contraction, inevitable, that makes us surrender to the sense that, "This is myself."

It ain't.

It's a sense of self-contraction, a state of automatic self-activity, ongoing habit, that comes from one or more of the faces of the TetraSeed -- ATTENDING | INTENDING | REMEMBERING | IMAGINING -- operating in the background without conscious involvement.

This "without conscious involvement" entails automaticity -- happening by itself, seemingly as an unavoidable feature of existence. This automaticity makes it seems as if it something that "we are" rather than as "something that we are doing -- and can stop doing".

TENSING AS READINESS FOR LIFE
I have referred to, "tensing". To tense oneself is the first step to readying oneself for action of any kind. It is "readiness for life" -- often taken to be "maturity" or "competence."

This "self-identified" state of contraction has myriad forms. It is a complex "wad" of contraction-activity made of all the memory impressions acquired over a lifetime. These memory impressions form automatically as the "recording activity" of life-experience. This recording activity has adaptive value -- up to a point. It equips us to be ready for more experiences of the kinds we have already experienced.

It becomes a problem as this "readiness" piles up from some experiences that seem to repeat themselves -- and from many that never repeat themselves, but that have left their mark on us as a state of readiness for "more of the same". It is a kind of stupid, rudimentary intelligence that is supposed to serve life but that does so without the conscious, deliberate participation of the individual; it is a primitive artifact of earlier evolutionary times, when individuals had yet to become so distinctly different from one another (individual), when they were so much more embedded in "nature" and "tribe", expected to conform out of survival-necessity, that automatic recording (learnings) of experience adequately served the survival of individual and tribe (or culture).

Again, as this readiness piles up automatically and we remain "perpetually at the ready," we become more and more self-identified, self-contracted. "Perpetually at the ready" is a kind of attitude. It is also a feeling -- the feeling of "self". People who think they "know themselves" merely know this pile-up of readiness.

Because it forms and plays out automatically and without our ability to stop, it seems to be self.

Like so many patterns of involuntary self-limitation, it entails the automatic functioning of one or more of the four faces of the TetraSeed -- ATTENDING | INTENDING | REMEMBERING | IMAGINING. As with all patterns of involuntary self-limitation, the key to release is to bring all four faces "on-line" and awake. When that happens, what has been running "on automatic" ceases to be automatic and becomes subject to observation (non-identification) and voluntary control. Efforts to become "non-identified" without that awakening merely become new, unrecognized forms of self-identification.

When that voluntary control awakens, two things happen:
  1. The activity ceases to occur automatically and thus to seem inevitable.
  2. One no longer regards it as "self", but now recognizes it as a mere conditional (or temporary) activity. Activity no longer automatically triggers self-identification/self-contraction. One can act without becoming loaded with self-contraction -- without intensifying involuntary self-identification. It's the capacity for free action without the affliction of inevitable "self".
A SECRET, UNRECOGNIZED FORM OF 'SELF-IDENTIFICATION'
It is the sense of "other". We consider others to be selves like ourselves -- but what makes this form of "other-as-self" unrecognizable is what may be called, "the blame factor". We hold others culpable for their actions, as if they were voluntary, rather than as stupidly automatic as our own unconscious self-identification. We assume a "self" over there to be praised or blamed for behavior. This sense of "self-over-there" IS IDENTICAL to the feeling of "(my)self, here"; it is self-identified self-contraction attributed to "an other" over there.

It is a form of self-identification because we consider ourselves to be "not like that" or to be "like that". It is "other-identification". It makes things, "personal."

Prior to recognition of one or more of the faces of the TetraSeed running "on automatic", we feel stuck with "the other" and with the dilemma of "blame or forgive" -- both of which are ridiculous, absurd, and unworkable alternatives -- pretenses, actually, based on idealisms built upon the automatic, evolutionary survival program that records experience without conscious participation and makes us into "robots of the past" (robots of memory).

What's so pathetic about it is the degree to which the mass of humanity continues to operate in this way -- so unconscious, so automatic, so habitual, so entranced, and so unintelligent.

AWAKENING
"Awakening" is not an idealism. It is a functional actuality. It is the one thing we can do, at least partially voluntarily, as human beings. We can inspect our reactions to experience for "asleepness" (automaticity) in terms of the four faces of the TetraSeed -- ATTENDING | INTENDING | REMEMBERING | IMAGINING.

By its ongoing trials and insults, the life-process highlights areas of our lives that are running on automatic. The reason it does so is that the sense of "trial" and "insult" is always a trial and/or insult of an identification-as-self. "Someone" is felt to be undergoing a trial; "someone" is insulted by life.

The sense of a "someone" is always some form of automatic readiness, felt as inescapable, to which we acquiesce as if it were," self". The "we" who acquiesce are more of the same.

When the four TetraSeed "faces" come awake, the compulsivity of self-identification is over -- at least in the area awakened. What awakens is tacit, intuitive freedom felt as adequate in the moment, free of the sense of "self" under the thumb of experience. The sense of "conditions" and creative responsiveness remain -- and the uncomfortable sense of contraction (self-imploded, self-implicated readiness) of self-identification eases, and with it, the self-imploded sense of personal suffering.